Transforming the Character of Public Organizations: Techniques for Change Agents

Transforming the Character of Public Organizations: Techniques for Change Agents

Transforming the Character of Public Organizations: Techniques for Change Agents

Transforming the Character of Public Organizations: Techniques for Change Agents

Synopsis

"From her own experience, Dr. Rusaw knows that to inspire change in any organization, particularly in the public sector, change agents must understand that change is primarily collective, nonrational, and nonlinear. People who seek to create change cannot stand apart from the problems, issues, and concerns raised by their constituents, but must merge themselves into the data-making, analysis, and diagnosis phases of consulting. The agent must, in other words, participate actively in creating change. How the agent must do this, why, and the effects the agent can expect are the subjects of Dr. Rusaw's book. Her book will appeal to practicing public administrators who seek real-life examples presented in conversational language. It will also be important for teachers and students of public administration, specifically in courses in organizational behavior, leadership, organization theory, human relations, and public personnel management." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Like people, organizations have distinct characters that give them identity and purpose. Character includes personality traits, but it also involves underlying patterns of assumptions, motives, and preferences that provide meaning. Character influences what “makes sense” to us and directs our actions accordingly.

Character gives us our individual identities, but it evolves through learning in association with others. Sense-making comes from our abilities as well as from our social participation. We learn to value that which we have learned to trust, for example, and esteem those who act consistently trustworthily. We do not, on the other hand, normally like those whom we do not trust. the logic is based on our thinking about similar experiences involving trust. Character helps us align our mental, emotional, and affective states with action.

By this line of reasoning, illogical associations stem from misaligning inner states with actions. We may value untrustworthy people; we may feel anger toward someone but behave as if we do not have conflicting issues toward them; we may believe it is important to exercise honesty and fairness in making agreements, but we may keep important and accurate information from others to protect ourselves. the logical flaws suggest inconsistencies in character.

Flaws and inconsistencies develop unconsciously. We are not aware that what makes sense to us does not make the same sense to others. We may find this out only by comparing our logic and experiences with those of others and noting both congruities and gaps. Through negotiating similar-

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